YORK Rugby League "legend" Colin Forsyth, who went on to represent England after signing for Bradford Northern, has died.

A product of the Heworth amateur club, Forsyth went on to play 167 times for his hometown professional club between 1968 and 1974, and featured in the 1975 Rugby League World Cup.

He later coached Heworth during their glory days at the top of the amateur game in the mid-1980s.

Forsyth passed away suddenly on Thursday, leaving behind wife Sandra, sons Mark and Craig - who himself is a former crowd favourite with York City Knights - and daughter Julie.

Knights media manager Gavin Wilson said: "It's a shock and unexpected. Colin Forsyth is a York Rugby League legend. That term is sometimes used too much but it's very much appropriate where Colin is concerned.

"He served York RL with distinction and obviously went on to represent England. He was well known and well liked throughout the York rugby league community.

"His son, Craig, played for York as well of course. It's a very sad time and our thoughts are with Craig and his family."

Forsyth played for Heworth before turning professional with Oldham as a 17-year-old in 1964 and going on to enjoy a 17-year pro career.

He moved to Featherstone Rovers in 1966 - just missing out on a Wembley appearance when named a reserve for the Flatcappers' 1967 Challenge Cup final victory over Barrow - before joining home-town team York in January, 1968.

The prop forward made a total of 167 appearances, including as substitute, for the Clarence Street side, scoring 39 tries and three goals.

He then moved to Bradford where he gained international honours, winning three caps for England - against France, New Zealand and Wales in the 1975 Rugby League World Cup - and scoring one try.

He made 154 appearances for Bradford before ending his career with Wakefield in 1980/81.

Among his honours are Championship, Premiership, Yorkshire Cup and John Player Trophy triumphs.

He helped Bradford win the top-flight title in 1980 and played in three successive Premiership finals for the West Yorkshire club - beating Widnes at the end of the 1977/78 season but losing to Leeds in 1979 and Widnes in 1980.

He was also in the Northern team that beat his home-town club, York, 18-8 in the 1978 Yorkshire Cup final at Headingley.

He previously played in Featherstone's Yorkshire Cup final defeat by Hull Kingston Rovers in 1966.

He lifted the John Player Trophy with Bradford in 1980, after they beat Widnes in the Headingley final.

After retiring as a player, he played for and then coached his old amateur club, Heworth, for whom son Craig also later played before turning pro.

The Black and Whites at that time in the mid-80s were arguably the best amateur club in the land, winning three

consecutive Yorkshire League crowns, reaching the BARLA Yorkshire Cup final, and being founder members of the National League (now National Conference League).

In his first season as player-coach, Forsyth guided the team to the inaugural National League title in 1986/87, followed by the BARLA National Cup final, plus Challenge Cup matches against professional opposition.

Gary Hall, of the Knights' Supporters' Society, said: "Our thoughts are with Craig and his family at this sad time.

"Colin was a tremendous player, an old-fashioned prop forward in the days of contested scrums."

A statement from Heworth ARLC said: "We are in deep shock following the sad news that Colin Forsyth, one of our most respected players and coaches, died suddenly on Thursday, May 31.

"Our condolences go out to his wife Sandra, sons Mark and Craig, and daughter Julie."

Heworth will hold a minute's silence ahead of their first-team and 'A' team matches this Saturday. The Knights likewise plan to hold a minute's silence ahead of their home game against Workington next Sunday.